Tom Pearce made his senior team debut in Leeds United’s 1-2 defeat against Sheffield United on Saturday in the Championship clash at Elland Road.
With nothing to play for in the league, Paul Heckingbottom has the luxury to give the club’s young academy players a chance to show whether they are ready to represent the senior team.
With Laurens De Bock injured, Pearce was rewarded for his fine form for the under-23s throughout the season with a senior team debut, and he did make a fine impression.
Pearce performed really well and has showed signs that he has the potential to handle the pressure. It remains to be seen whether he is ready to follow in Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s footsteps and get a prolonged run in the team for the rest of the campaign.
Heckingbottom praised him highly after the match and said that he’s a player with good potential.
“I thought Tom got stronger as the game went on. It’s a real big jump from 23s into the first-team. He’s in the first-team, he’s in a Yorkshire derby, he’s got that out of the way now,” said Heckingbottom, as quoted by Leeds Live.
“It’ll be interesting to see what he makes of the game now, the differences, the experience. I know first hand what the difference are and he’s one with good potential for this club and now he’s had a taste of the first-team.
“The Championship is unforgiving, they’re at a big football club. It’s a big jump in level for all of them and we have to keep working them and pushing them because they’re not going to stay in the team unless they perform.”
This should give encouragement to the youngster that he would at least be getting opportunities. Heckingbottom’s statement gives a clear indication that the club is working hard to give the youngsters a chance and it is upto them now to grab those opportunities.
Pearce certainly made a strong impact and he will be hoping to get an extended run in the team after the international break.